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Brewers: Should Luis Urias See More Time at Third Base?

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Apr 4, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Luis Urias (2) hits a double in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 4, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Luis Urias (2) hits a double in the second inning against the Minnesota Twins at American Family Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports /
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After the Brewers traded for Willy Adames, Luis Urias made the shift over to a “super utility” role, where he has played well so far. In his new role, Urías has seen time at shortstop, third base, and second base.

With Travis Shaw scuffling (OPS of .631 since May 1st), is it time for Luis Urias to see more time at third base?

Since the Adames trade on May 21st, Urias has 36 total plate appearances, he is hitting .303/.361/.363, good enough for an OPS of .997. His OPS is the highest on the team since May 21st. Urias has the highest wRC+ on the team in that period, sitting at 168, well ahead of the second place Avisail Garcia (140). He also has accumulated the 2nd most fWAR (0.5) on the team since May 21st, behind Wong (0.5) and tied with Adames and Garcia (0.4).

He also is second on the team in home runs with seven. Showing power that he had not previously been profiled in having. While he likely will never be a 30 home run power guy, perhaps his new approach to hitting will see Urias become a 15-20 home run player over the course of a full season.

Even though he lost the starting shortstop position last month, Luis Urias continues to be a productive member of the Brewers, and deserves another look at third base.

Luis has spent 48.1 innings at third base this season, making 5 starts there. In his time there, Urias has accumulated 0.1 Defensive Runs Above Average (DEF). For perspective, Travis Shaw has appeared in 335.2 innings at third, but has a DEF of -0.1.

Since shifting away from shortstop, Urías has continued to make contact nearly 80% of the time he swings. Luis also continued to not take swinging strikes. Since May 21st, his swinging strike % is 10.1%. For the entire season, his swinging strike % is 9.5%. Urias had and continues to have elite pitch recognition ability, and that should be leaned into when making the lineups.

The Brewers are in need of more offensive production, and barring a third base acquisition, Urías may be the best option to do that, especially considering Travis Shaw is slashing .107/.265/.214 over the same period.

When looking at the LH/RH splits, Urias fares better against lefties. In 44 PA, he is slashing .257/.349/.400, while he is slashing .217/.318/.426 against right handed pitchers. When looking at wRC+, the splits are more even, 106 against left handed pitchers, and 102 against right handed pitchers.

Craig Counsell is a fan of platoons, and playing match-ups. With Shaw slashing .162/.295/.297 in 44 plate appearances against left handed pitchers this season, it may be time to seriously consider a platoon with Urias.

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Luis Urias proved to be a solid third baseman last season, and perhaps giving him more time at third and keeping his bat in the lineup will provide the team with a spark as we enter the Summer months.

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